Like all cocktail enthusiasts I often get asked: What is your favorite cocktail.
I used to answer along the lines of: I like many different styles of cocktails, and it depends on many things which I will prefer in a given situation.
And that was perfectly true, all though for a while - if pushed, I would answer: A Mai Tai.
Which is a little bit ironic, when you call yourself a Ginhound.
Fortunately my taste changes and evolves constantly - so at the moment, I have a more gin-correct answer: The Negroni.
A couple of years ago when I was in New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail I met the Italian author and bartender Luca Picchi who gave me his book: Negroni cocktail - an Italian Legend. I have been fascinated with the cocktail - that I always liked - ever since.
Over the summer I have conducted experiments with different styles of vermouth - the single ingredient in the three equal part cocktail that makes the biggest difference in my opinion.
Especially as I have yet to find a real alternative to Campari - not that I have been searching hard - I love the carmoisine red stuff to bits.
Some of the more interesting vermouths are only sold in 1 liter bottles in Denmark - a bit of a challenge, that.
But there is great comfort in knowing 3 liters of ready mixed Negroni rests securely in bottles and a small glass barrel in my fridge, ready for consumption.
My latest mix i 1 l Tanqueray, 1 l Campari and 1 l Berto Vermouth.
A very fresh and singing Negroni - that slightly edges a mix with La Quintinye Vermouth Royal vermouth as a go to everyday summer edition of the Italian classic. Royal makes a dark, intens almost brody Negroni - sure to become a winter favorite.
My 3 liter Negroni stash may have made me reckless or I just love a good challenge: I, like everybody at the moment, wanted to make my ovn home made boozy gummy bears. I sent off for the molds and started planning.
Not enough it turned out - first two batches were slimy disasters - meaning 250 ml of perfectly good Negroni went down the drain.
I finally did some proper research and on the third attempt - they where good.
So here is what I did:
- 125 ml Negroni - mix equal parts of your favorite gin, vermouth and Campari.
- 2 teaspoons powdered gelatine*
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 4 dashes Orange Angostura Bitter
Bloom the gelatine in 2 tablespoons cold water while you add the rest to a bowl that will fit snugly over a pan of gently boiling water.
Then add the gelatine and stir only it is completely dissolved don't let your Negroni mix come to a boil keep it at a point where whiffs of steam comes of the surface but no more.
Add to gummy bear moulds - I bought these - put in the fridge for a couple of hours and then store in an airtight container until needed. Store them away from kids and do not let them have any - remember it's 125 ml of a really strong cocktail made up to look like candy - bad combination for kids.
* A word about gelatine - don't take my measurements as gospel - you have to read up on the specific product you are using. Powdered gelatine is a relativ new ingredient in Denmark - we used to only have clear sheets of gelatine available that needed to be soaked in cold water before use. The brand available to me specifies that one teaspoon equals two sheets of the old stuff - I was taught by my mother that for a stiff gel - I should use 8 sheets for 500 ml of liquid. I figured i wanted stiff bears and that the alcohol content - which is just below 30 procent in my Negroni-mix - would counteract some of the firming action. I was right (or lucky as I have only made them once.)